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UNIT 11: Early Empires

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PERSPECTIVES ON THE PAST

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Transcript of Audio Clip

Peter Winn, Tufts University

Even the best run and seemingly benign empire often looks different when viewed from the perspective of their subject peoples. Historians studying the Inka Empire through the lens of the ethnic groups they conquered tell a different story than the official Inka story of a benign welfare state, a view confirmed by periodic rebellions and by the collaboration of some Inkas subjects with the Spanish conquistadors. But 250 years of oppressive Spanish rule would make even these peoples dream of an Inka restoration. In 1780 Cuzco kuraka of Inka descent took the name of the last Inka, Tupac Amaru, and rose in revolt against the Spanish bad government. The news that the Inka had returned to claim his kingdom and free his people from Spanish misrule inspired rebellions from Colombia to Bolivia which took the Spanish four years to suppress and cost a hundred thousand lives in the highland territory whose population was only 1.2 million. Nor did the legacy of the Inkas end with independence from Spain and our own times approving guerilla group named Tupac Amaru, a soft drink was successfully marketed as Inka Cola, and the national currency has been named Inti and Sol with pictures referring back to the Inka Empire. At bottom many Peruvians are still looking for their Inka.



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